About 1,000 people from across the state have traveled to Columbia for the 2020 Missouri Pork Expo, which wraps up Wednesday afternoon. Missouri Pork Association (MPA) Executive Vice President Don Nikodim notes the state’s pork industry continues to grow. He says it contributes about $1.6 billion annually to the state’s economy.

The Pork Place restaurant is operated by the Missouri Pork Association. It’s located on the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia (2019 file photo courtesy of Missouri Pork Association)

“We’re seeing a considerable amount of growth across the board here in Missouri, have for the last several years,” Nikodim says. “I know there’s a lot of production facilities slated to be built.”

Nikodim says recent trade agreements are an opportunity for growth in the state’s pork industry. The theme of this year’s conference at the Holiday Inn Executive Center is “Competing Globally.”

“I think one trade agreement that didn’t get as much attention as maybe it should have is the Japan trade agreement. It’s really big for our industry,” says Nikodim.

Nikodim is also excited about USMCA, which is the free trade agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada.

He notes the China agreement is in the early stages. He notes China is dealing with the coronavirus, and that there are huge problems in China with dock workers.

Closer to home, Nikodim says flooding this past year has impacted some of his producers across the state.

“Some of the farms in the (river) bottoms, it’s been a real hassle for them,” Nikodim says. “We have a few producers that do that, and it was just a tough year on the crop guys that had to be engaged in that.”

Despite flooding, Nikodim says there has been a good corn crop and ample feed supply for Missouri pork producers.

Nikodim is also pleased that many 4H and FFA students are at the conference. He notes the Missouri Pork Association has always supported the youth groups.

The average age of a Missouri farmer is 58, and Governor Mike Parson has credited the state’s pork industry for helping young people stay on the farm.

The governor proclaimed October as “Pork Month” in Missouri. Governor Parson notes more than 3.5 million hogs are raised in Missouri, and that the Missouri’s pork industry ranks sixth in the nation.

The trade show, which took place on Tuesday, has gotten bigger every year. A Missourinet reporter walking through the Expo Center saw exhibitor booths all the way near the hotel doors.

Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and Missouri Pork Association (MPA) Executive Vice President Don Nikodim, which was recorded on February 11, 2020 at Columbia’s Holiday Inn Executive Center:

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